Ex won't pay court-ordered child support


My ex husband get VA benefits he gets over $3,400 and now brags he gets even more.  He sees his 2 children basically once a month or maybe just a night.  Now I make good money and completely take care of my children and I'm not looking to take all his money but I think it would be  fair he helps pay for half of what my children need, and I'm pertaining to school registration, school supplies, clothes and shoes and medical cost. He is supposed to pay $400 once a month and he can't even do that and taunts me how he can't be touched or his VA benefits. Could you please guide me in the right direction? I live in Illinois and so does he.  He has been in and out of rehab but I never keep him from our kids.  I just want him to help, he is their father and should help me financially take care of them, no matter how much money I make,

Jim's Reply:

If you are divorced, the court made an order of child support when the divorce was adjudicated. The child support order was based on the information about finances that were available to the court at that time. If circumstances have changed, and they usually do over time, you are able to return to the court and ask for a modification (an increase) of the child support and/or alimony award. This is the only way that this gets done...no amount of talking or asking others will accomplish anything, you have to return to the family court and ask for a modification. This is all routine to the court and most family courts will allow you to do it yourself, you won't even need to hire a lawyer. You have to do this for yourself or hire a lawyer to do it for you...figure out the proper court to go to in your region. I'd suggest that you get there in person but if you can't start calling. You'll want to talk to the clerk of court in the family court division. The clerk can give you forms and instructions but no legal advice. If you follow the instructions, your case will be docketed, your ex will be ordered to appear and you'll have your say in front of the judge. Nothing happens until you make your move...go for it.

BTW...for what it's worth, it's true VA benefits can't be garnished or otherwise assigned like a paycheck can. But the family court uses the VA benefit money as income in the income calculations of who owes what to who. If your ex didn't report his VA disability income on the court's financial statement, he may be in contempt of court for hiding assets. Veterans who believe their benefits can't be touched are always in for a rude awakening when they learn of VA disability benefits apportionment policies to satisfy court ordered child support obligations. VA disability money is awarded to help a veteran care for his family...children are family even after divorce...so say the courts. If he is behind in child support payments, file for an apportionment here and at the same time get to the court asap. Good luck.